Manipulations of an Artful Dodger
Anyone paying attention to the news the last week is aware of Facebook's IPO (initial public offering), and the uproar about the company's purportedly inflated value. What might have easily been overlooked is the story of cofounder Eduardo Saverin. According to the German economic magazine Wirtschafts Woche, the former Facebook CFO and business manager has given up his American citizenship in return for that of Singapore. In so doing, he will reportedly save more than 100 million US dollars in taxes.
Although the Brazilian-born and Harvard-educated entrepreneur disputes the fact that he has changed his citizenship for tax saving purposes, the perception is that he would like to enjoy Singapore's more attractive tax environment. To his credit, he had already applied to relinquish his American citizenship back in January of 2011, which is long before Facebook first floated its shares on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
The American government had however done its best not to release the news that it would be losing one of its most prominent venture capitalists. Rarely shy about exploiting an opportunity to seize political gain, several US senators have suggested introducing taxes specifically targeting such tax dodgers. In this specific case, that would amount to political posturing. After all, Mr Saverin is now safely out of the reaches of American tax authorities.